Windows XP – Which Edition Should I Choose?

The choice of whether to choose Windows XP Home or Professional varies – and not always strictly according to network environment, or to use. Many small businesses can get by quite well with XP Home, yet many professionals wouldn’t have anything less than XP Pro in their home LAN.

Based on help requests, I’d guess that the most relevant distinctions, between XP Home and Pro, are:

  • Choice of file sharing. A computer running XP Home will only use Simple File Sharing.
  • Domain membership. A computer running XP Home cannot join a domain.
  • Number of simultaneous incoming connections. XP Home limits you to 5 simultaneous incoming connections, while XP Pro will limit you to 10.
  • Remote access to the desktop. XP Pro provides Remote Desktop, which integrates tightly into the Windows structure. For XP Home, and for other operating systems, you will need VNC, or a similar product.

As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

NOTE: There is a third, odd member of the trio. XP Media Center Edition has the XP Pro kernel. The early versions of MCE had all of the functionality of XP Pro, plus the multimedia capabilities. Starting with the 2005 version, XP MCE lost the ability to join a domain, though it still has many other components of XP Pro.

If you have a computer with either XP Home or XP MCE 2005, and you need it to access domain resources, please read File Sharing Under Windows XP – Windows XP In A Domain.

There are two additional editions of XP, which I will describe in more detail in the future.

If you want to make a detailed comparison, and look at other decision making possibilities, you may want to read additional articles:

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